Julia Schwarzmeier

Julia Schwarzmeier joined the English Department in April 2022, after studying English and History at KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and Xavier University, OH, USA. She earned a teacher’s degree (“Staatsexamen”) in December 2021. She is currently working on her PhD thesis in the area of racial passing, which is supervised by JProf. Dr. Nele Sawallisch.

In my research I aim to prove the enduring relevance of passing narratives in the American literary landscape, contributing to the argument against the notion that passing is passé. The growing number of mixed-raced identities after the 2000 census does not signify the end of racial passing; rather, it shows the continuity and adaptability of established racial systems and formations until today. Publications of the late 1990s like Caucasia (1998) by Danzy Senna, more recent novels such as The Vanishing Half (2020) by Brit Bennett, or the latest screen adaptation of Larsen’s Passing on Netflix (2021) show the fascination still shared with the practice of racial passing. The in-depth analysis of the contemporary passing narratives give insights into understanding dynamics of race, intersectionality, and identity in American society today.

    Main Areas of Research and Interest

    • (Racial) Passing
    • African American cultures, literatures, and literary histories
    • Gender studies and feminism

    Selection of Past Classes

    • Voices of the Harlem Renaissance
    • Coming-of-Age Narratives
    • Passing Narratives in North American Literature
    • Introduction to Literary Studies 1: Basic Concepts of Literary Analysis


    • Book Review of Colorblind Tools: Global Technologies of Racial Power by Marzia Milazzo. Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, vol. 72, no. 2, 2024, pp. 197-200. https://doi.org/10.1515/zaa-2024-2003.


    • "Passing Through: Navigating Spaces, Mobility, and Racial Passing in The Vanishing Half (2020) by Brit Bennett", Workshop DFG Research Unit FOR 2600, Multiple Crossings, "Passing" and its adjacent Mobilities, Universität Duisburg-Essen, June 2024.
    • "Contemporary Depictions of Racial Identity and Passing in Passing (2021) and Dear White People (2017–2021)", Jahrestagung der Kulturwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft, Populäre Kulturen / Popular Cultures, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, September 2023.

    • ""You don’t have to be scared of things you don’t understand. They’re just ghosts." (Robinson 265): Solidarity among the Spiritual World and the “Real” World in Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson", Annual Conference of the GKS, Solidarities. Networks – Convivialities –Confrontations, Grainau, March 2023.

    Panel Chair:

    • "Historical Perspectives." Anglo-East Asian Exchanges in Literature, Culture, and Media. Organizers: Prof. Dr. Ralf Hertel, Barbara Marquardt, Dr. Eva-Maria Windberger. June 28 - 30, 2023. Universität Trier.

    • "Panel 1." American Photography—Photographing America: TCAS at 20. Organizers: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Nele Sawallisch and Anke Reitz. June 14-15 2024. Trier University and Clervaux. In cooperation with CNA Luxemburg and Atlantische Akademie Rheinland-Pfalz.